Our law correspondent, LEE GULACTION, reports on another possible costly court case that could be brought against the cash-strapped council because of Tory Mayor’s decisions
Mayor Jason Perry’s war on cyclists has claimed its first reported casualty, with a cyclist crashing on the Brighton Road cycle lane and only narrowly avoiding possible fatal injuries.
Richard Lander, an IT project manager from South Croydon, suffered a fractured wrist that required a surgical plate when he suffered a serious fall when riding into the town centre on a wet evening. Lander, an experienced cyclist, had to pull out to pass a vehicle parked in the cycle lane when he hit one of the wand-less “defender bases” – a lump of black plastic about the size of a kerbstone.
The cycle lane, when upgraded in March, originally came equipped with “wands” stuck into the defender base, upright plastic poles complete with reflective stickers, clearly marking the dividing line between the main road and the cycle lane.
As reported by Inside Croydon at the time, no sooner had these essential safety features been installed, all funded from a Government scheme “to promote healthy travel, reduce emissions and grow the economy”, than Mayor Perry ordered the removal of dozens of the wands.
This was despite warnings that this would make the cycle lane more dangerous for all road users – including those driving cars or riding motorcycles.
Perry, from the time he was a mere councillor in South Croydon ward, has stubbornly opposed cycle lanes, and particularly the Brighton Road scheme, claiming that it is somehow bad for business…
Perry was recently caught hosting a social media page that celebrates criminal damage to public property. The Tory Mayor appears to take his lead in opposing traffic reduction and calming measures from the racist former UKIP candidate and cars lobbyist, Peter Morgan, a figure widely discredited by most reasonable folk around the borough.
Many residents interpreted the removal of the cycle lane wands as the Mayor’s deliberate attempt to undermine, even sabotage, the cycle lane trial, to ensure it failed.
The lump of plastic on the main road, close to South Croydon bus garage, where the collision happened is unmarked. Any reflective material that was on the base has long ago disappeared, possibly due to being run over by cars when their drivers couldn’t see it either. While the unmarked base is visible in daylight, on a wet winter night, they are far less obvious.
Lander has been off work for more than a month as a result of his injury.
As well as the fracture, he is suffering from extensive bruising.
He is full of praise for the care our local NHS has given him on his road to recovery. He’s also mindful that it could have been much worse, had he fallen into the path of a vehicle following him.
Lander asked Croydon Council for a copy of the CCTV footage of the collision.
The reply was that, having “checked the date and time of this incident, unfortunately the incident was not captured on CCTV. Sorry That we are unable to assisted [sic] you further”.
Which is strange, as the council’s CCTV web page states, “Images are recorded seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Recordings are retained for 31 days unless a request is received to retain a particular piece of footage for a longer period.” The council’s own map of its cameras shows one to be positioned exactly where the collision took place.
The Metropolitan Police has declined to take any action, which probably means the crash and the injuries will not be recorded on their Stats19 database or associated maps, showing where hazards need removing and roads need improving.
Lander has reported the incident to the council officer who designed the experimental improvements, and they passed it to the Highways team for action. Will they defy the Mayor and reinstall all of the wands he ordered to be removed? Or will they just wait for someone else to suffer a serious injury or, dread to think, something worse?
As a member of London Cycling Campaign, Lander is considering his options. The LCC’s advice is that “depending on the facts of your case, if the accident was caused by another party (such as a local authority) not properly discharging their duty of care and causing a highway defect or hazard, it is possible to seek damages from them for injury”.
LCC members can get free advice from the charity’s established legal partner, cycling experts Osbornes Law.
Read more:Perry’s back-pedalling furiously on Boris-backed bike scheme
Read more: Tory minister is member of online group that celebrates vandals
Read more: Mayor Perry accepted hundreds of pounds of gifts in first year
Read more: Perry permits Town Hall question that helps return of Morgan
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